Roundbrix SEO – Being #1 on Google has its Perks !

Ever since the beginning of the search engine, the coveted prize is in being ranked at the top or very close to it. You see, when folks search for something, more often than not, they won’t scroll down three to five pages to see Google results numbered 30 through 50. Today’s searcher really wants to know how close they can get to what they are looking for without having to go to another page or scrolling down as well! Realistically, I find that folks are a little challenged – as I too had to do some soul searching to figure out what makes sense for my business. So here’s what we have learned:

Select Terms that are not overpopulated. If I search for ‘wine’, I have to wade through 910 million results. If I select ‘red wine’ I pared the field down to a mere 294 million. Wow, that’s a two-thirds reduction!  Now I type in ‘Tempranillo’ (the noble grape of Spain equivalent to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape) and I am down to 7 million results. If I now ask for what I am really looking for ‘tempranillo match‘, I am down to a mere 311 thousand results. Here, I find a site called winematch.com rated #1 that is displaying a number of Tempranillo wines, which was really my end goal.

Here’s the lesson. People are thinking more and typing in more words than ever into search engines in an attempt to narrow their field of search as much as possible. They are looking to find what they can on the first Google results page visible to them. Finding things on the first page greatly reduces our time and frustration factor when looking for stuff. After all, it’s far easier to search through 311 thousand results rather than 910 million.

You can use Google’s Keyword Tool to plug in all the common terms you think people will use to find a business like yours. The tool will show you all the keyword phrases and what kind of traffic in general each receives. Also, it will suggest other phrases along with their traffic and competitiveness on which you might want to also focus.

Page optimization is critical. How each page is optimized is important, but it needs to be built that way. Are those important keywords sprinkled on each page generously without it looking like you intentionally planted them to cater to the search engines?  Remember, you have two audiences here – the people that read them and the search engines. Your site needs to have links that go down to page levels that reinforce what you’re all about. It is allowable to have some redundancy. From a best practice standpoint, mention of a keyword three times on each page brings search engine benefits.

Roundbrix made the decision to build our website based on SEO perspective from the ground up. This enables the website to show up #1 on google for about 20 different phrases because the website was built specifically to get high on the search engines. For example, we did not use any tables. It is recommended to use CSS only so that the search engines have a lot less html code to look through when spidering your website. Also, we enable quite a bit of cross-linking. As an example, from the home page you can access our HP Partner page while at the same time you can also access it under our DATA page and several other pages.

Title importance is most often overlooked. I go to so many sites, and the title is just plain wrong or worst yet empty. A web designer is not a search engine optimization specialist! Remember this – the first sixty (60) characters of the title is what search engines care about the most. Also, the more important keyword phrases should be on the left part of the title. So pull up your web site, highlight over your favicon in the toolbar and see if that agrees with what you believe folks will type into a search bar to find your business. We also find that adding location, like ‘Irvine’ or ‘Orange County’ also helps quite a bit.

Getting a potential new client to your site as an initial introduction is the most important thing. Some websites use something more unique in their title that allows someone to find you, like perhaps an item or service more unique to your business than to others. This increases your odds of being found whereas just using a keyword that is too widely used in your area of product line or service expertise might make the competition a bit too great.

 

Advertisements

Cloud Computing. The Basics, Upsides and Downsides

The buzz word in IT today is Cloud Computing. This simply means applications are hosted off-site, right? Well, not exactly. The hardware is offsite. The applications are offsite. Your data is offsite. Backups are offsite, but are they really occurring? We explore the ins and outs here. To the Cloud!

Cloud Computing 101

It’s all about not having to shell out a lot of money for infrastructure, yet getting a ton of functionality and big infrastructure capability. Also, all applications (we’ll call them apps going forward) are web-based, so they can be run from any browser, anywhere and anytime. HTML, JavaScript, CSS and Ajax are all terms you may already know, but these are the basics behind delivering web apps that behave very much like more traditional client/server apps. The reason this has gained more popularity recently, is there are more things like Ajax, which allows a single data field to be dynamically updated, instead of an entire web screen refresh every time a piece of data changes. In other words, the web has grown up to match, and in some ways exceed, what was once done with client/server architectures.

Browser plug-ins, extensions, and open source make the ability to have feature rich apps that can be edited easily to add specific or additional functionality as well. It’s become a more flexible world. Also, applications, anti-everything (spam, junk, virus), and operating systems are supposed to be always seamlessly and currently patched. Surely, there will be some issues in this area as data needs to be ‘frozen’ for some platform migrations.

Microsoft’s Office 365 offering

Cloud Computing on the Microsoft 365 platform, which is still in Beta, provides a number of offerings, with a few different configurations. This seems to be a very favorable option for many. Sure, we’re a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner with a stake here, but the reality is that the applications Microsoft packages together actually integrate well, as has been the Microsoft Model. This integration is a good thing!

The above images are all clickable to showcase what the offers are, but here’s the deal. There are no large infrastructure upfront costs, but instead, a monthly recurring charge for services provided. These costs will range from $6 to $27 per month per user, depending on what is needed, as it’s a tiered pricing structure.

Microsoft’s distinct advantage, though clearly not OpenSource, is that these are the apps that most of us run, namely Exchange and Office specifically. But integration with Sharepoint can be sweet, as can be Cloud collaboration efforts.

Who is the Perfect Candidate?

1. Smaller companies with great technology needs and a small budget are prime candidates up to about 25-50 users.

2. Geographically-displaced workforce, sales teams with needs to share and connect would benefit the most. Imagine doing a PowerPoint Presentation without the need, or cost, of other 3rd party packages.

3. Startups can minimize their cost to get started, while appearing large in form and functionality. It gets you up and running fast and for little coin. A good thing if you’re working towards a strong presence.

4. Companies that are not large, but have infrastructures that are clearly at or beyond end-of-life (EOL) and think maybe there’s a better and cheaper way. They get not only current technology, but new technology as it gets roiled out, preventing another round of obsolescence every few years.

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

It really depends on the cost/benefit equation, which we can help you establish. Say it’s for 25 users and you need the Cadillac package from Microsoft for $27 a month. So, $27 x 25 user x 12 months is $8,100 per year. This excludes startup costs, which surely cost more for data migration, then a fresh startup. So far so good, right? So multiply that by 5 years and were at $40k. That excludes any annual price increases.

The value proposition comes into play when you ask yourself if you could have done more for less. Technically, most of the servers you deploy today have a 6-year useful life, so if you can live with one version of Exchange and other apps for 5-6 years, you might win on that front.

But there are a few questions that add to the TCO formula here, as well as some foreseeable challenges, outlined below.

What is the cost to move to the Cloud?

How safe is your backup? Are they in more than one site for disaster recovery?

Are backups being performed and if not, would you be notified?

How solid is the data recovery model?

How secure is your data from being leaked, possibly hurting your company? (Price, customer list leaked)

If you have to leave the Cloud provider, how hard/costly will it be?

If you’re late for paying the bill, will you be shut down?

Foreseeable Challenges

As with every technology or service provider, there are premier offerings and substandard offerings. A premier offering would hopefully be doing everything correctly. In my 25+ years’ experience, I would expect the difference between the two to be as follows:

Premier Cloud Provider

Fully Redundant Hardware

Backups confirmed

Server to usage ratio reasonable

Good performing

Strong bandwidth and transfer ability

Little to no downtime

Stable pricing, small increases

Reciprocally equitable contract

Solid, tested power backup strategy

Good, prompt service

SubStandard Cloud Provider

Non-Redundant Hardware

Backup not confirmed/may fail without notice

Server to usage ratio excessive

Mediocre to poor performance

Mediocre to poor bandwidth and transfer ability

Numerous downtime incidents

Pricing increase may be larger

Possible ‘hostage’ contracts, making leaving expensive and tough

Poor power backup strategy

Mediocre to poor service

Summary

In summation, it’s clearly a good thing and the way of the future. But as with any technology, put a foot or two in the water before jumping in. You’ll be glad you did, regardless of the decision.

If you are interested in a demo, please send an e-mail to support@roundbrix.com, and once we are up with the Cloud environment, we’ll gladly demo it for you!

Ed